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Dr Bawumia buys waakye with QR Code



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Dr Bawumia has launched all-inclusive Universal QR Code system developed for Ghana, as part of efforts by the Akufo-Addo government, to move the economy from a cash-based one to a cash-lite one.

Outdooring the QR Code at Auntie Muni’s, a popular waakye joint within the Cantonments on Thursday, 19 November 2020, Dr. Bawumia said the system is so flexible and easy to use for everybody to receive or pay for anything electronically.

“We are here to formally outdoor the Ghana Quick Response Code system or the QR Code, as it is known for short. It’s a very very historic day because we are solving a major problem here in Ghana and it is historic because Ghana will be the first country in Africa, to launch a QR Code payment system; and not only are we the first in Africa, we are also, as far as I’m aware, the third country in the world to do a Universal Quick Response System after Singapore and India”, the Vice-President said

ccording to him, even the QR Codes systems of Singapore and India “only cater for bank customers” but “Ghana’s QR Code system will cater for both bank and non-bank customers”, explaining: “That is those who use mobile money as well as have bank accounts”.

“So, in this regard, Ghana’s QR Code system is unique and it is the first of its kind in the world and, so, we have to be rightfully proud as Ghanaians that we have a technology to solve a problem that exists in our society but in doing so, we are really leading the world in this manner and, so, I am very proud here and it has taken collaborative effort”, Dr. Bawumia noted.

He said: “We just didn’t wake up and find a Universal QR Code in Ghana. The Ministry of Communication has been critical; the Bank of Ghana, GhIPPS, banks, telcos, fintechs – this is what is so unique about the Ghana story; it’s very very unique that we have had collaboration from all these stakeholders and we’ve been able to actually come up with this Universal QR Code”.

Explain its function, Dr. Bawumia said: “A QR Code, essentially, allows merchants or all people who receive payments, to receive the payments on their mobile phones. So, if you go, you can pay using your mobile phone; the merchant can receive the payment using the mobile phone, instantly”.

“So, you scan the QR Code and then you can confirm that this is the merchant and I’m paying this amount to the merchant, so, it’s very secure in that regard; it is very convenient”, he observed, adding: “We are solving a problem that has been with us practically since independence: we’re a cash-based economy and a cash-based economy is a very inefficient economy and we are cash-based because so many people are excluded from the financial system, so, we do a lot of financial transactions through cash, which means robberies can take place, as people carry cash around”, Dr. Bawumia noted.

He said the technology also comes in handy as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world. Dr Bawumia used it to buy some waakye to demonstrate how it works.

To him, the coming into effect of the QR Code system means “is a very bad news for armed robbers”, since a lot of transactions would be done electronically now

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PenCom surveillance shows PFAs failure on corporate governance, others



By Omobola  Tolu-Kusimo


In line with the National Pension Commission (PenCom)’s regulatory mandate in Section 92(1) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, empowering it to examine licensed pension fund operators, the Commission has conducted on-site and special examinations as well as off-site examinations on all operators.

While reviewing the Corporate Governance Reports on the operators, the commission observed that some pension operators ranging from Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to Pension Fund Custodian (PFCs) and Closed Pension Fund Administrators (CPFAs) defaulted in some issues not consistent with the Code of Corporate Governance and global best practices.

According to the Commission, the issues include variance in the responsibilities of the Board; non-reporting on the areas of strengths and weaknesses for the board members, Board Sub-Committees and Individual Directors in the assessment criteria; Board Committees meetings held same day whereas some directors had overlapping membership of the board committees; and non-disclosure of membership and quorum for board committees in some board charters.

Others include non-disclosure of Directors’ Remunerations; ManagingDirectors/CEOs being members of all Board Committees and inclusion of Executive Directors as members of Board Audit Committees; and non-establishment of Whistle Blowing Policies and Director’s Remuneration Policies.

The commission however, said operators concerned have been directed to address the issues and comply with the circulars on corporate governance.

The commission said there was also an On-Site/Special Examinations of Licenced Operators.

During the year under review, the commission conducted Routine On-Site Examination of 32 licensed operators, comprising of 22 PFAs, six CPFAs and four PFCs, using the Risk Based Supervision (RBS) model.

The outcome of the examinations, according to PenCom, indicated that the industry remained sound and resilient.

Besides, the commission carried out Special/Target Examination on two pension fund operators, to address some governance issues which had, in turn, formed the basis for advising all operators.

On Returns Rendition via the Risk Management and Analysis System (RMAS), the commission explained is a returns rendition application for the submission of periodic reports to the commission by operators.

During the year under review, 32 licensed pension operators comprising of 22 PFAs, four  PFCs and six CPFAs rendered returns for the Funds under their management/custody as well as their Company operations to the Commission.

The commission further disclosed that it received and reviewed monthly compliance reports submitted by the operators.

The key issues observed from the review of the compliance reports include, increase in the value of uncredited pension contributions; delay in the payment of retirement/death benefits due to incomplete documentation and communication issues; non-procurement of Group Life Insurance Policy for employee’s contrary to the provisions of Section 4(5) of the PRA 2014 and non-remittance of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) taxes in violation of the provisions of Section 81 of the Personal

Income Tax Act (PITA).

The Commission said it has advised the concerned operators, to ensure effective resolution of the issues.

In addition, the commission said it conducted the inspection of state pension bureaux to ascertain the level of implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as well as the administration of the Defined Benefits Schemes (DBS) in the States and the FCT.

During the period under review, the commission conducted routine inspection of the pension arrangements in the FCT, Ondo, Ekiti, Rivers, Kaduna and Ogun states, as well as a maiden inspection in Edo State.

The inspection reports were forwarded to the respective Pension Bureaux and the Commission had continued to proactively monitor the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports.

The Nation

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Bullets and Whips, A Glimpse Into the Oyigbo Massacre



“I saw the policeman wearing a red beret. Before I knew it, I heard a very loud sound, not in the air, directly at the shop. The bullet pierced through the iron door and hit her. I rushed her to a hospital where she was confirmed dead.”

36-year-old Monday Bakor and his late fiancee, Queen Nwazuo, were preparing to get married come February 2021, unfortunately, her life was cut short on October 22 by an officer of the Nigerian Police Force in Rivers State.

A few days after the #LekkiMassacre came the news of the #OyigboMassacre. At first, the tweets started like many other ones splattered across Twitter – “Ah, they’re fighting in Oyigbo, they’re killing people in Oyigbo o, soldiers are harassing protesters o, IPOB members are fighting with Hausa community.”

During that time, the narrative of the Lekki Massacre as ‘fake news’ was being heavily propagated by the government and the Nigerian Army had, in what would later turn out to be false, insisted that soldiers had not killed anyone at the Lekki Toll Gate. In fact, they claimed they weren’t there. In Lagos and many other states, ‘thugs’ and ‘hoodlums’ were destroying and looting properties. Typically, many people discarded the news as faux alarms, or just ‘thugs’ and ‘hoodlums’ doing their thing. We’d later realise that these fights and assaults were beyond hoodlums and mere looting. There was indeed a massacre.

“There were gunshots and stray bullets everywhere. People died – people on their way, people moving, people walking. You could just be hit by a bullet and die. In front of my aunty’s gate, three people died at the spot. I know of a little boy who just went out to buy something, was hit by a bullet, and died right there. It was that bad.” Soty, who lives in Iriebe, a community that shares a boundary with Oyigbo, said. His account of the Oyigbo Massacre is similar to that of A, who has asked to remain anonymous.

“On the 29th of October, a Thursday, I was already dressed up for work as early as 6 in the morning. From my own community (which shares a market with Oyigbo) down to Oyigbo, soldiers were scattered everywhere harassing any young guy they see. They will just come and pick you and you’ll be beaten and tortured thoroughly. In Oyigbo, my friends sent me the video of one of my guys, Justice, who was shot and killed. Once soldiers get a person, they’ll say ‘we hear say gun no dey enter una’ and shoot you. They stopped the cars of people who were going to work that morning and asked them to lie on the floor. They were left in that position until the evening when they were released.”

What led to the Oyigbo Massacre still remains unclear, especially since residents of Oyigbo, among many other communities, had been placed on a 24-hour curfew since October 21, 2020, after the commissioner of police in Rivers State, Joseph Mukan, accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), of hiding under the #EndSARS protests to kill six soldiers and four policemen in the state. He also said IPOB members invaded Oyigbo local government area on October 21, launched “senseless and mindless attacks on the area command, Oyigbo, and Afam police stations, and burnt down the three stations and destroyed court buildings.”

One would hope that investigations into IPOB’s roles in the killings and vandalism would be carried out and the instigators of violence would be penalized according to the law. On the contrary, Nigerian soldiers allegedly embarked on indiscriminate, extrajudicial violence against the people, most of whom were not IPOB members.

The Massacre

There was a 24-hour curfew in Oyigbo, Obio-Akpor and many other communities. Still, several videos, photos, and tweets indicated that the death toll was increasing and residents of Oyigbo and neigbouring communities were being steadily assaulted by men of the Nigerian Army. Soty confirms the assaults, “During the curfew, there was a mass arrest. Both the old and the young people who were found outside were laid on top of one another and flogged like animals. Those who came back home had a lot of bruises and wounds.”

But it wasn’t only the curfew defaulters who were assaulted, even those who stayed in their homes were allegedly hounded and murdered by men of the Nigerian Army.

“They were going from house-to-house, they also came to my gate. If they succeed in entering your house, they’ll beat any man they see and leave the women. See, I’ll be honest with you, people were killed. Even in my community, they killed two people, and one body was taken away,” A, who stays in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, says.

Typically, the Nigerian Army refused to confirm whether or not they were responsible for the massacre in Oyigbo and the Rivers police spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, insisted that he was not aware of the military violence. However, reports that surfaced, later on, confirmed that indeed, soldiers broke into the homes of residents.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, claimed that 50 AK-47 rifles belonging to the Nigeria Army were carted away by suspected IPOB members and that men of the Nigerian Army ‘searched’ the houses of residents in a bid to recover the rifles.

The breaking in of armed men into resident’s homes is clearly more than just the search for rifles. Their actions have left many residents petrified and traumatized. A resident of Oyigbo told us his uncle was scared to talk, “He is scared of being traced through his line by the government. The killings by the army are still being done, but secretly, and men are the targets.”

In the past few days, many #EndSARS protesters have been illegally arrested from their homes and remanded in prisons. It is understandable if residents of Oyigbo and its environs are scared to talk about their experiences in the hands of Nigeria’s armed forces.

This points out two facts: There was a break-in and many innocent people were murdered, and although the Rivers State government has denied being involved in the massacre of Oyigbo residents, we hope that just like the #LekkiMassacre, the truth will be unraveled soon enough.

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Trevor Noah set to host 2021 Grammy Awards



Host and comedian of the “The Daily Show” Trevor Noah has been announced as the host for the 2021 Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy made the statement hours before the nominees for the upcoming show are exhibited.

“Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the GRAMMYs have refused to have me sing or be nominated for best pop album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event,” Noah said in a statement. 

“I think as a one-time GRAMMY nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I too know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I’m not trying to catch Corona). See you at the 63rd GRAMMYs!”

Harvey Mason jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy, said: “With a knack for keeping viewers engaged and entertained, Trevor is the perfect choice to lead us through what’s sure to be an incredible evening full of music, unforgettable moments, unity and inspiration. He is a dynamic host, comedian and personality, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the Grammy stage as host of Music’s Biggest Night for the first time.”

George Cheeks, CBS Entertainment Group president and CEO, added: “Trevor’s comedy talents, engaging energy and unique perspective make him the perfect host for the Grammys. At the same time, it’s very exciting to have one of our biggest ViacomCBS stars center stage for one of CBS’ marquee events. With Trevor hosting and ‘The Late Late Show’s’ Ben Winston producing, it’s yet another example of our combined company’s power in music, entertainment, and the biggest live events.”

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will be televised on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, on CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony will be streamed live on at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT.

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